It all started with a shortcut. Murder followed. Then an accidental death. Or so it seemed. But then again, nothing is as quite as it seems. Enter Detective Sergeant Hamilcar "Ham" Hitchcock and his General Assignment Squad. Fresh off the Keim case—and recovering from the loss of several key members—the Yonkers, New York-based team reinvents itself and dives headfirst into the latest investigation. And, it's a doozy. Is the murderer a jealous high school student? A greedy caregiver? An angry homeless man? Or, someone else? As the detectives work to unmask the killer, a bizarre, unrelated death draws their attention—and holds it. Unfortunately, the evidence in both cases is frustratingly scant. At the top of the list are several short-cut cherry striped straws, and a mysterious, corrosive salve. When the stars eventually align in the squad's favor, their celebration is cut short by an unexpected catastrophe that threatens to pull the team apart again. And the mystery continues.